Law enforcement leaders and others in Colorado Springs and El Paso County held a press conference today in response to incidents of violence across the country this week and in the past, including the shootings in Dallas last night that left five officers dead.
Henry Allen, Jr., President of the Pikes Peak Southern Christian Leadership conference, called on the community to unite.
"I believe we are committed to show respect to each other as we stand together as elected officials, law enforcement leaders, spiritual and civil rights leaders," said Allen, Jr. "We are committed to the safety and security of all of our citizens and law enforcement."
Allen, Jr. expressed sorrow for the deaths of two black men this week in Louisiana and Minnesota, as well as for the loss of life in Dallas.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said incidents like this could happen in any major city, including here, but that it's important to seek diversity in the police force, ensure law enforcement departments stay at the forefront of training and technology, and hold officers accountable.
"We want the culture of our law enforcement agencies to be one that's very community-minded," said Suthers. "The officers act in defense of the community and in defense of themselves, but they do so in accordance with appropriate training and an appropriate law enforcement ethic."
Suthers also said it's important to have processes in place that ensure a fair and unbiased investigation of any incident.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey said he plans to continue to emphasize transparency, and said it's important to him to have a police force reflective of the community it serves. He added that every Colorado Springs Police officer will have a body camera by October.
District Attorney Dan May and Sheriff Bill Elder were also among those who spoke.
You are one of the KRCC readers who wants to know what is really going on in Southern Colorado these days. We have got just the thing for people like you: the KRCC Weekly Digest. Sign up here and we will see you in your email inbox soon!